Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon finds something funny while talking about his new team at the Major League Baseball winter meetings Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)
Lenny Ignelzi
December 09, 2014

SAN DIEGO (AP) Cubs manager Joe Maddon has plenty of reasons to be happy Chicago landed top free agent Jon Lester.

The most original: The pitcher hunts.

Lester was the big prize early at the winter meetings, and the Cubs beat out the Boston Red Sox for the trophy signing.

Maddon has great respect for the lefty, who won two World Series championships with the Red Sox, and he learned of Lester's hobby during a recent telephone call.

As manager of Tampa Bay from 2006-14, the quirky Maddon, who doesn't hunt, sent some of his players on hunting trips.

''A couple of years ago, Wade Davis shot a black bear in Toronto prior to the playoffs,'' Maddon said Tuesday. ''I thought that was outstanding. That gave me even more confidence putting him in a game, like in the seventh or eighth inning, facing a normal right-handed hitter.

''He shot a black bear, 300-pound black bear,'' Maddon said. ''I like when the guys do things like that.''

Now that the Cubs landed their ace, Maddon knows how it feels to come out on top.

''It's not often you get to win the lottery, and we won the baseball lottery this year,'' Maddon said after Lester picked the Cubs.

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